Film: Final Destination

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Final Destination

Director: James Wong
Distributor: New Line Home Video

Alex and a group of high school students take a flight to Paris for a French class trip. Alex has a premonition of the plane crashing and prevents his schoolmates from taking off. The plane bursts into flames shortly after takeoff, and Alex must deal with suspicious FBI agents as well as his freaked-out friends. Unfortunately, Alex continues to foresee the gruesome, dramatic deaths of those that should have died on the plane.


While hardly a spiritual upgrade of the slasher film, this high-concept teen body-count thriller drops hints of The Sixth Sense into the smart-aleck sensibility of Scream. Helmed by X-Files veteran James Wong, who cowrote the screenplay with longtime creative partner Glen Morgan, Final Destination is an often entertaining thriller marked by an unsettling sense of unease and scenes of eerie imagery. It suffers, however, from a schizophrenic tone and a frankly ludicrous premise. A high school Cassandra, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa of Idle Hands), wakes from a preflight nightmare and panics when he’s convinced the plane is doomed. His ruckus bumps seven passengers from the Paris-bound plane, which immediately explodes into a fireball on takeoff, but fate hasn’t finished with these lucky few and, one by one, death claims them. Wong brings such a funereal tone to these early scenes of survivor’s guilt and inevitable doom that the already far-fetched film threatens to veer into unplanned absurdity. Thankfully, the tale loosens up with a playful morgue humor: one of the victims winds up the splattered punch line to a grim joke and elaborate Rube Goldbergesque chains of cause and effect become inspired spectacles of destruction. Final Destination is a pretty silly thriller when it takes itself seriously, and the filmmakers play fast and loose with their own rules of fate, but once they stick their tongues firmly in cheek, the film takes off with a screwy interpretation of the domino effect of doom. —Sean Axmaker

Barnes and Noble

A well-crafted nightmare with a hip and charming cast, Final Destination transcends the self-referencing parody infused in many modern-day teen horror films. Alex (Devon Sawa) is a clairvoyant student bound for Paris who, after a disturbing vision of his flight crashing, keeps himself and six others on terra firma only to witness the plane explode during take-off. But the magnificent seven turn out to be not as lucky as originally thought: One by one they are brutally met by their originally intended fate, and only psychic Alex can see it coming. Together with fellow student Clear (Ali Larter), he must beat the clock to outsmart Death’s game—if that’s possible. Director/writer team James Wong and Glen Morgan put their experience as X-Files alumni to thrilling use in their feature film debut. Quick cuts are interlaced with suspenseful situations to create twists and turns as thrilling as anything in The Sixth Sense. Time may heal all wounds, but in Final Destination, Death’s clock ticks with a vengeance. Patricia Kim O’Cone

Related Works

Film:Final Destination 2

Final Destination 2

David R. Ellis

Kimberly forsees a horrible auto accident and saves herself and a few others by blocking an on-ramp. As in the first Final Destination, Death attempts to balance the books with an entertaining variety of elaborate and gruesome deaths.

Film:Final Destination 3

Final Destination 3

James Wong

Set six years after the original Final Destination, the latest installment in the series centers around a high school senior who has a premonition of a fatal roller coaster accident involving herself and all her friends. When the premonition proves true, those who have “cheated death” and survived the accident are forced to deal with the repercussions of escaping their fate.

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